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MVP up for grabs as group stage nears completion.
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Opening batsmen continue to lead the way in the PCA Vitality Blast Most Valuable Player Rankings, filling seven of the top 10 positions.
Since T20 cricket resumed after a round of County Championship fixtures last Thursday, 19 games have taken place, during which long-standing leader D’Arcy Short dropped to second position before he hit his fourth 50 of the campaign and took two wickets against Birmingham to return to the summit.
Somerset’s Babar Azam had been the man to remove Short from top spot, albeit for a brief spell. The Pakistan opening batsman has 160.55 MVP points so far in the Blast MVP, 15.3 points behind Durham’s Short. However, Azam is by far and away the best performing batsman according to the statistical algorithm.
The 24-year-old has 149.55 points for batting alone while Short’s all-round abilities mean he has scored heavily with the ball, too, securing 49.44 points via his 11 competition wickets. Azam, the top run-scorer in this year’s Blast, has been superbly supported by his fellow opener Tom Banton. The young star sits second in the run list and third in the Blast MVP with 142.4 points.
Banton, who has already been tipped for an ICC World T20 call up next year, continued his fine form with a quick-fire 48 at the Kia Oval on Tuesday night, taking his tally to 487 runs in this year’s Blast, 91 behind Azam. However, the star of the show in South London was Aaron Finch who walloped an unbeaten 102 off 54 balls to hand Surrey a six-wicket victory.
The Australian opener is now the second highest MVP points scorer when it comes to batting alone with 125.02.
The MVP algorithm was designed by the PCA in conjunction with the players to reward match-winning performances. On top of traditional batting and bowling averages, bonus points are awarded, for example, for accumulating a high proportion of your side’s runs, claiming top order wickets and taking catches in the field, amongst other game-changing disciplines.
The PCA keeps track of the top performers in the domestic game via the individual competition MVP tables as well as the Overall MVP, and the player who accrues the most MVP points in all formats in 2019 will receive a £10,000 prize ahead of the 50th NatWest PCA Awards on Wednesday 2 October.
Derbyshire are one of the in-form teams in the competition and that is largely due to a talented trio who are all amongst the elite players in the 2019 Blast. Billy Godleman, Wayne Madsen and Ravi Rampaul all sit within the top 10 as they helped their team to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Remarkably, Godleman now has more MVP of the Match awards than anybody else in county cricket this summer with seven. The Derbyshire captain, who has already topped the Royal London One-Day Cup scoring charts, has continued his form into the shortest format, assisted by the ever-dependable T20 striker Madsen.
Madsen took home the MVP after beating table-toppers Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford on Monday with 24.16 points. Meanwhile, Rampaul is the top wicket-taker in the competition with 21. On top of that, he has the best economy for anyone who has taken over 12 wickets with 6.71. That has seen the West Indian international secure 113.64 MVP points and means he is the only bowler to take over 100 points through that specific discipline.
Despite Rampaul being the star performer with the ball, he could not tame Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone on Bank Holiday Monday, when he smashed 58 off just 36 balls.
Livingstone, fresh from his maiden stint in the Indian Premier League, is in ninth position in the MVP as a result of his all-round prowess. With 59.03 batting points and 55.57 with the ball, he is in contention for the MVP with his side already guaranteed a quarter-final spot.
In the Overall MVP, Warwickshire and Birmingham Bears captain Jeetan Patel remains in pole position for the £10,000 prize. He has had an extremely consistent 20-over campaign, taking 11 wickets at an economy of just over seven runs per over. The Kiwi sits on 464.44 MVP points with Essex’s Simon Harmer and Gloucestershire’s Ryan Higgins hot on his heels.
View the Vitality Blast MVP Rankings here.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest MVP news by following the @pcaMVP on Twitter.